Who doesn't love tofu? No... well you're in the wrong place! For those of you still here, we have the King of Tofus for you. The company Tofu King supplies all manner of tofu to Chinese supermarkets across the UK (be careful as one of their lines has egg in the tofu). This one is a fried tofu marinated in chilli oil and sesame. It's ready to eat hot or cold. We threw it in a hot wok for a tasty stir-fry:
Dairy-free cheese made from soya milk and rejuvelac. We're still reviewing the Artisan Vegan Cheese book and as a sidestep (not in the book) we tried the rejuvelac-culturing method on plain soya milk. It cultures the soya milk well, although it seems to partially coagulate it at the same time... giving you a cheese that's somewhere between tofu and yoghurt cheese.
Hot party food...mini pork style sausages and spicy meat/veg bites. Redwood's large range now includes a whole lot of snack sized offerings which can be eaten hot or cold. Despite the thaw in the weather, we prefer hot food at this time of year. We've already reviewed the mini-sausages wrapped in 'bacon', but these sausages are the bare version.
Lemon and Chocolate varieties of vegan sandwich biscuits from Chinese producer Four Seas. The company is one you've probably never heard of in the UK but they are a big Chinese group who produce a lot of the snack foods in your local Chinese supermarket. These Crisbite biscuits are cracker style sandwich biscuits with a fondant cream filling:
Coffee, Hot Chocolate, Mocha, Granita, Cocktails, Lassi... courtesy of cafe-bar drinks specialist Beyond the Bean. The Bristol company specialises in everything a coffee shop could need... except for the coffee itself. They sent us some samples of their Sweetbird line of syrups and their Zuma hot chocolate powder (plus a range of teas we'll review separately). We took them along to the legendary veggie/vegan Alley Cafe Bar in Nottingham for our review:
Cold weather calls for hot sausage rolls... vegan ones of course. Redwood recently joined Frys and Linda McCartneys in the vegan sausage roll market (sounds like enough for a Veganoo Taste Test). The mini sausage rolls are cocktail sized and are ideal for buffets and party food, if you can resist eating them all as they emerge from a hot oven.
Ever mixed sweet and salty popcorn? Like salted caramel... it's strangely good. Propercorn make four flavours of popcorn, two of which are animal free, including this mix of sweet and salty. The plain salted flavour is also dairy-free, but the sour cream and worcester sauce flavours contain milk. We grabbed a bag of the sweet and salty stuff to see if it's as good as it looks.
Not for dipping in hummus... made from hummus, or chickpeas at least. Leicester based company Cofresh produce these naturally gluten-free crisps from a mixture of chickpea, rice, potato and cornflour. That sounds like a recipe for cardboard, but these chips are amazingly tasty and fantastically crisp:
Love weirding out your non-vegan friends? Offer them some black soya milk. We spotted this in a local chinese supermarket and were intrigued. It genuinely is made from black soybeans - there's no food colouring in there. The only version on offer was sweetened... very sweetened. How does it taste?
Dairy-free milks really took off in the UK last year. Anything other than soya milk or rice milk used to be a niche market, but now we have several producers offering a range of plant milks. Provamel are the leading brand in the health and wholefood market and we've long dreamed that they would offer a range of milks as good as their soya. Does their Oat Milk and their Rice-Coconut Milk deserve the hallowed Provamel brand name?
Vegan oatcakes from Scottish producer Cairnsmhor. We needed something to eat vegan cheese on as we work through the Artisan Vegan Cheese book. These mustard flavoured oat crackers appeal to us for their practical shape... they're narrow enough to bite. Round and square crackers often break apart on first bite by contrast. These are practical...but also tasty.
We're reviewing Miyoko Schinner's vegan cheese book. This is the first recipe in the book, and the cashew recipe is the base for many other cheeses in the book, so we thought it a good place to start. Chèvre is a goat's cheese which we've never eaten so making comparisons is difficult. It's also difficult to know if you've achieved the same results as the author...
Sort of orangey After Eights. Part of the stuff-we-didn't-review-before-Christmas. These chocolate thins were in all the supermarkets at Christmas, in flavours including mint, turkish delight and orange. They all seem to be made in the same place, as the packs and the chocs are identical. Even the Divine ones are identical (though made with fairtrade chocolate). We picked up these orange ones from Sainsburys. Were we fond-ant of them?
Vegan Doner and Vegan Gyros from German firm Wheaty, bought from Vx. We've seen vegan kebabs before such as the Vebab, but never pre-packaged ones such as these. Based entirely on wheat protein these kebab 'meats' are intended to replicate the thin slivers of lamb cut from those rotating spits seen in kebab shops. We can't remember what kebab tastes like, but are these kebabs worth seeking out to extend the vegan food experience?
Chunks of vegan cheese with a crispy breadcrumb coating. Redwood's selection of snacks and party food seems to have exploded lately. We're not quite sure where these fit in to an everyday menu but we can imagine them being served as an appetiser. We've no idea what dairy pepperjack cheese tastes like as it's not really a cheese eaten in the UK. We certainly know what Cheezly tastes like though and we're interested in how it tastes hot and breadcrumbed.
Vegan caramel shortbread in the Free From section at Morrisons. There is at least one other widely available dairy-free caramel shortbread that we've reviewed - in the Lazy Day range of tray bakes. This one is distinctly different and isn't made by Lazy Days and repackaged. Have Morrisons managed to perfect that all important vegan caramel layer?
Yet more vegan after-dinner chocolate mints. We know you've started your New Year's regime by now of broccoli and lentils and... no?...us neither, not until we've eaten all of this stuff left over from Christmas anyway! We don't review many things from Morrisons, as their vegan selection isn't great so we rarely go there. They do have occasional gems though, like their mince pies and these peppermint cremes.
Melting vegan cheese made with pea protein. Cheezly's dairy-free range is now pretty extensive and Redwood even cater for those who wish to avoid soya too. Most home-made vegan cheeses are made from nuts, but the commercial stuff is invariably made with some kind of soy. If you are avoiding soy for whatever reason the options are limited. We tried out Redwood's soy-free option to see if it's on a par with their regular Cheezly.